Softest flannel in piles, matched with pillowcases. Snow bunnies and horses for girls, skiers and Stewart plaid for boys. Wind howling outside while rain pelts windows in a staccato of cozy as I go from bed to bed, stripping away summer’s percale and smoothing on winter’s flannel. Some people go kicking and screaming into this season of cold and blustery, but I love ushering in a new season and especially this one, with it’s fires and long johns. I used to hate winter; it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder and dreary, grey days dragging me down. I remember still those long ago months of darkest anxiety when I lacked the imagination of an ending. Survived through prayer and journaling and subliminal tapes of peaceful music I played on loop all night, headphones wearing tracks in my hair as I listened to husband sleep the sleep of the peaceful beside me. That winter taught me hard lessons about seasons.
Mamas, maybe you are in a hard one, husband wandering, child rebelling, self unraveling. Maybe it’s so dark you can’t see your way out and you’re sure you will die of it. But here is truth you can take to the bank: this will not last. That’s a great good thing about seasons: their temporal nature. No matter how dark this time is for you, it will give way to a spring time of new growth and light. It will. Father never promised you a rose garden. Just the opposite. But he did promise grace sufficient for every hurt, even the seemingly endless ones that leave you gasping, body curled in a question mark on floor, self poured out and empty. He warns you there will be seasons that wreck you, but he vows that if you’ll only hang on and surrender, they will give over to seasons of such beauty it will make you weep with wonder. That one day, you will find yourself standing up off your floor and able to take a deep breath and he will be there too, to watch this wonderment of unfolding.
You might be in a season that is a beast, claws seconds from ripping you asunder and breath hot on your neck as you run away from it. You might be sure you are about to be consumed and so you cry out to the only one who can save you from the terrible beast. And Father walks into that terror and smiles and says, oh child, that? that is a puppy. We tolerate winter because it is the gateway to spring. We learn to love winter when we recognize that the snow falling softly covers the yuck outside while the same is happening in our souls on the other side of the frosty window panes. Winter teaches us that the only safe place is in the hands of the creator of all things. And so we batten the hatches and lay in supplies and make up the beds in softest flannel because little comforts count double in winter. We resolve to not wish it away but to suck the marrow out of it like we do summer with it’s long days and smell of sunscreen on baby skin. To learn it’s lessons until we can teach them to others. Listen, either you own winter or it owns you.
Commit to doing some things, tangible and otherwise, this week that welcome winter. Quiet moments with pen and journal, flannels on bed and tartan plaid on couch, plans for a cuppa in a pretty mug with someone you love. Show winter you can play it’s game. That the monster you think you’re up against is really just a pup because Father says so, so there. Winter is so many good things, even when it hurts deep and leaves you aching. Spring will come. But first, winter.
this is me being real.